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The Last Word

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Murdoch 9, Us 9, Rupert Murdoch 6, Washington 5, England 4, Iraq 4, At&t 3, United States 3, Jonathan 3, Rebecca Brooks 3, Wisconsin 2, Obama 2, London 2, America 2, Schwab Mobile 2, U.s. 2, Humira 2, Purina 2, Afghanistan 2, David Stern 2,
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  MSNBC    The Last Word    News/Business.  (2011) New.  

    July 6, 2011
    8:00 - 9:00pm EDT  

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you hot chick. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us, "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts right now. i'm chris hayes in for lawrence. there's something rotten in the state of england where a piece of rupert murdoch is under investigation. here at home, the president bypasses the media and goes straight to the internets. the hash tag era has officially arrived. >> i apologize for interrupting the prime minister. >> when he talks about free market options. >> welcome to question time. >> i am going to make history here as the first president to live tweet. >> the president returns to social media to face the nation's questions. >> twitter town hall or tweet-up on the economy and jobs. >> 27% of our questions are on the jobs category. >> what costs would you cut, what are the programs that can
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help us grow? >> in a balanced way. >> our next question comes from someone you may know, this is speaker boehner. >> there you go. >> will you take job-destroying tax hikes off the table? >> this is a slightly skewed question. >> debate will be settled by speaker boehner and president obama. >> the british prime minister wishes he could be so lucky. international outrage against rupert murdoch's media empire. >> the biggest press scandal in modern times. >> mobile phones of several who lost family members in those attacks were hacked by the news of the world. >> murder victims, terrorist victims. >> michelle, this is just disgusting. >> disgusting, disgraceful, heinous. >> the world targeted some of those police officers. >> this government will perform in a proper way. >> mr. speaker, i'm afraid that answer was out of touch with
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millions of people. >> mr. speaker, this is not the time for technicalities or -- >> members of congress will have to explain calling for cuts, just not at home. >> if they are not going to do all that much to make the country better, the least they can do is avoid making it any worse. good evening from washington. tomorrow, eight lawmakers of both parties will meet with president obama to try and reach an agreement to reduce the deficit and raise the debt celling. the impasse on raising tax revenues remains. if you're feeling this waiting game will have the same unsatisfying conclusion, you are not alone. congressional republicans are refusing to even discuss raising revenues by raising tax breaks or loop holes, even the seemingly indefensible ones like tax breaks for corporate debts, despite the facts a laundry list of conservatives have offered political coverage to take the
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deal offered by the administration, which is, one hesitates to note, $3 of spending cuts for $1 of revenue, a compromise in favor of republican priorities, and one who would imperil the anemic recovery. today the republicans answered for both parties to check their ultimatums at the door by repeating their ultimatum. republicans are threatening to blow up the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless democrats adopt the grover position on the deficit. here's how the president responded to the republicans. >> never in our history has the united states defaulted on its debt. the debt ceiling should not be something that uses a gun against the heads of the american people to extract tax
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breaks for corporate jet owners or oil and gas companies that are making billions of dollars because the price of oil -- gasoline has gone up so high. the notion that the u.s. is going to default on its debt is just irresponsible, and my expectation is that over the next week to two weeks, that congress, working with the white house, comes up with a deal that solves our deficit, solves our debt problems, and makes sure that our full faith and credit is protected. >> joining me now is gene sperling, the director of the economic council, gene, thanks so much. you were in the white house in 1995, the last time there was a democratic president in a republican-led house. what do you think has changed, what strikes you as different this time around? >> well, truthfully, what we have inherited is much worse.
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obviously, in '95 we were fighting to bring the deficit down, but we passed the reduction act, and the deficit was on the way down. now we're inheriting, really, the worst financial recession since the great depression, and this president inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit. so the problem is greater. you do have the same type of division that you had in '95, and what we really just have to hope is we can work through that quicker than we did last time, and i think what the president is doing tomorrow in calling the leadership down is saying everybody has got to check their politics, their rhetoric, their ultimatums at the door and see if we can find common ground on a major down payment on deficit reduction that's done if a way that will help not discourage the recovery from gaining more strength, still leave room for investing in our future, and
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honor our basic compacts on medicare and social security. the president thinks that is possible but understands it's requiring compromise on all sides, democrats as well as republicans. >> i want to ask you something in that vain about something the president said in his weekly address. >> the government has to start living within its means, just like families do. we have to cut the spending we can't afford to put the economy on a sounder footing and give the businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs. >> there's two assertions in there. one is the government has to live within its means as families do. the other is essentially, the businesses needs confidence, the problem we have in the economy right now and the lag is confidence. i wonder, what is the empirical evidence for that? governments are not like family balance sheets, they can't borrow 1%, they don't have privilege to the printing press. why is it not demand?
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>> okay, well, let me answer three parts. number one, no, families and governments are not exactly the same, but they both need to live within their mean in their own way. for a country, you do not want to see your debt rising as a percentage of your income. worldwide, that is never seen as a sign of stability, so you do want to -- you do want to show you're getting in control of your deficits and your debt and bringing them down into a sustainable pace. and that is what the president is trying to do by trying to bring together democrats and republicans for a deficit reduction package. secondly, there's probably $2 trillion of cash sitting on the sidelines. it's not all because of uncertainty because of the deficit, but it's a piece of the puzzle. if you can give confidence that amidst this divided government, we're capable of coming together, solving some of our problems, and putting the
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deficit on a downward path, getting our debt under control, i do believe that will be a component in creating confidence that will lead to longer-term investment where people decide to locate here more and create long-term jobs. nobody is suggesting this alone is the answer. that's why when the president puts forward his deficit reduction package, we always stress three things, one, it needs to be done consistent with strengthening the recovery. the president has called for things like extending unemployment insurance, extending the pay roll tax cut, because he knows families are still struggling and the economy needs a little help to get the momentum we need. and third, we understand that you've got to still leave room to invest in the future in education and innovation, so we very much believe that restoring our fiscal sanity is a component of the competence we need to get investment and job creation, but
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it's one piece of a president's larger economic strategy. >> i want to follow up on cash on hand businesses, you cited $2 trillion and said clearly uncertainty of the deficit isn't the totality of the reason the money is on the sidelines, but it's part of it. i wonder why the bond markets, probably the most deep in liquid market, profound pricing for discussion here, are pricing risks so low, interest rates continue to be at such historic lows, yet people in the chamber of commerce saying we're worried about the deficit. what explains that disconnect? >> well, i think there's a lot of factors that go into the interest rates right now, but there's certain things you know that are just sound. this isn't just the united states or president obama, any country anywhere that has its debt escalating as a percentage of its income creates doubt about its stainability.
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that's got to discourage some people from feeling as good about the long-term investment, not just the short-term spike, but the decision to locate, invest here, create jobs. but again, as i've said many times, no one is suggesting this is the only piece of the puzzle, that's why the president fought so hard for win the future agenda, stressed repeatedly, when the plane is loaded, take out luggage, not engine, education, innovation. also, there are values to deficit reduction. we don't believe it should be done in a way that puts all the burdens on the working poor or middle class or seniors. it has to be done with shared sacrifices, asking those most well-off or have the most agreej yous tax breaks as part of the solution. >> we have a little bit of time. final question here, i wanted to ask you, in terms of the win the future agenda that looks at the
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medium term and long-term, what's the short-term agenda, what can washington do in the next six months to get this stubbornly high unemployment rate that i think everyone thinks is intolerable down? >> well, number one, it is true you need the competence of a deficit reduction right now, but you don't want it to be front loaded, so you have contraction that takes away the demand you need for the economy. second, one of the things that's helped a lot of families deal with the higher gas prices and some of the stubbornness in the economy was the pay roll tax for 150 million families by 2%. that's $1,000 for families making $50,000. extending that, making sure that unemployment insurance is extended, i think these things are important. i also think there are things the president is proposing that may not be part of this package like having an infrastructure bang could all be part of nudging that economy forward, helping it to gain the traction
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we need, because we have inherited probably the deepest economic hole any president has inherited since fdr, and it's going to take a long time to climb out. we're not satisfied, no mission accomplished banner behind us, nor will there be until we get the type of growth for a sustained period of time, we start seeing jobs created, and unemployment falling the type of rates before we fell into this terrible financial crisis that has led to so many of the troubles we have led ourselves out of. >> gene sperling, assistant of the president for economic policy, appreciate you taking the time tonight. >> thanks for having us. we now turn to jonathan alter, jonathan, what did you make of mr. sperling's argument there? >> you know, i think he makes a prosecute good argument. the problem i have with the administration on jobs is
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there's not enough krcreativitc. so everything he said is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough. what i'm looking for -- and i understand why this has to be after the debt ceiling is dealt with -- so sometime in late summer is new proposals for job growth. i'm scouring the country for ideas. the best one i've heard so far, chris, is from allen kaizy, a candidate for the senate in massachusetts the last time out. his idea was give people their unemployment insurance in the form of a voucher they can take to an employer, and the employer can then, you know, pay them basically half as much or he will otherwise be insent vised to hire this person because he'll come much cheaper by virtue of his unemployment insurance voucher.
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>> the government steps in and subsidizes the hiring cost of unemployment cost. >> it would not cost the treasury anymore money, you would take the money coming to the long-term unemployed through unemployment insurance and essentially giving that to the employer in exchange for providing a job. now, there might be certain problems with that, you know, maybe there's certain things about it that wouldn't work, would have to be adjusted. the reason i raise it is this is the kind of thing we need to be thinking about now, creative ways for getting that unemployment down. >> it's interesting you bring up jobs, obviously, i was focussed on it in the interview with sperling, because at the white house town hall today with twitter, they basically -- they showed this amazing preponderance of graphics about jobs, comparing questions from the press recently about the issues that they sort of are most focussed on and the
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questions at the twitter town hall. you can see there's no issue that comes close to jobs from the people that were on twitter today, and journalists have been asking a lot about congress and negotiations, etc. what do you make of that disconnect? is that part of why we're not getting a jobs conversation in washington? >> i don't think so. this has been a problem with the press going back a very long time. the press tends to be obsessed with conflict, with process, with politics, and any time that average americans are given an opportunity to, you know, question politicians, they are much more substantive. they are interested in themselves understandably, and what the government can do for them. and that brings them back to the issue, but the reason right now in the press's defense, the reason there's a lot of focus on the deficit is the parties are playing a game of chicken now. it's the james dean movie "rebel
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without a cause" where they are going towards a cliff. this is a dramatic and important political story for the press to cover, so i really don't blame reporters, especially trying to ask the republicans, are you really going to drive the united states into default for your narrow agenda for the rich? this is something that's not framed that way very often, but this is something the media needs to stay very tough on. >> the answer to that so far seems to be yes. jonathan alter, thanks so much for joining me tonight, appreciate it. coming up, gop freshman that campaigned against the stimulus and government spending is privately saying spending is necessary. and the story that could prove to be the one that breaks rupert murdoch. the incredible tangle that links murdoch, voice mail hacks, and the british prime minister. in companies embracing the cloud--
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we here at the last word
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would like to help the debt ceiling debate. where can we find tax revenue to improve the economy? here's one idea, headline hat tip to alternate. if just the top 25 hedge fund managers, 25, 2-5, paid taxes like you and me, we'd cut $44 billion off the national deficit over the next ten years. top 25 made a total of $22 billion in 2010, but a tax loop hole allows them to keep the overwhelming majority of that because they get to call it capital gains, which means they pay a rate of just 15%. that's opposed to the regular 35% top marginal rate. keep in mind, we're talking about just 25 people in the entire country. an american making $50,000 a year for 47 years would earn $2.4 million over his or her
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lifetime. $2.4 million is what john paulson made in one hour in 2010. one hour. close one loop hole, make $44 billion over ten years. see, that wasn't so hard. coming up, they admitted they need government spending in their districts. introducing the schwab mobile app. it's schwab at your fingertips wherever, whenever you want. one log in lets you monitor all of your balances and transfer between accounts, so your money can move as fast as you do. check out your portfolio, track the market with live updates. and execute trades anywhere and anytime the inspiration hits you. even deposit checks right from your phone. just take a picture, hit deposit and you're done. open an account today and put schwab mobile to work for you.
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to every republican that i supported in this race is committed to banning ear marks, which is at parochial interest that gets the focus of congress off national interest of paving local parking lots. we can't have 500 congressman
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and senators that think it's their job to bring home the bacon. one of the first things we'll do in the house and senate is ban ear marks as republicans. >> when a new wave of tea party-backed republicans swept into congress, many promised to be conservative, ban ear marks, and bring tax return to the front and center debate. of the 85 republicans seen in this freshman class photo, all but three signed a pledge to create taxes and limit reductions. as for the ear marks, that has been banned. would it surprise you to learn a freshman gop congressman who said this -- >> our nation is broke. the federal government has maxed out its credit card. americans want the tools to grow the economy instead of growing government so when making spending decisions, we should ask two simple questions in this house, how much does it cost? and who's going to pay for it?
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>> well he also co-signed a letter to the federal aviation administration to fund a $4.365 million project to improve a runway at the youngstown regional airport in his ohio district. how about joe walsh, sponsor of the balanced budget amendment and who has said -- >> this is a spending problem, and we have an unbelievable opportunity here to use this debt ceiling issue as a real opportunity to get once in a generation spending reform. >> well, according to the huffington post, stan stein, congressman walsh wrote the department of agriculture asking for $798,000 for contributions for the american foundation in niguragua. sounds like a good use of money,
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but that's the point. a lot of so-called wasteful spending doesn't look wasteful when spent on your priorities. republican lawmakers have pressed for tens of millions of dollars to help their districts. they don't want government in the abstract and are happy to rail against it when the cameras are on, but more than happy to get theirs when the camera is off. joining me now, washington bureau chief, ryan grim, how are you doing? >> pretty good, how are you doing? >> i wonder how much this hurts when this hypocrisy stands forward. does it leave a mark on capitol hill? >> it certainly hurts the tea party broadly, but it's not going to hurt these particular members. they didn't do it to benefit themselves personally, they did it because they thought it was smart politics back at home. you go to congress, get federal money for your district, for projects you support. these people are all on the
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record publicly supporting these projects after sam got their secret letters they sent to the department of transportation, but yes, this is why this is a good project, so they are going to defend it and people in their district are going to defend it, and whoever they face in the general election, whatever democrat is not going to bash these projects. the only risk they face is someone further to the right taking them out based on this. >> one of the interesting things about last time we had a republican house was this arc of cause to business to racket. by the end of it, there were all these high-minded principles with the, you know, contract for america, and very quickly to send it into corruption and self dealing. i wonder if we're seeing a similar trajectory with this republican congress. >> this all started because tom dalai instructed political gain.
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it had always been political, but been a bipartisan kind of fest. if you were the ranking member or the sub committee chairman, you got money back to your district. it was a seniority thing. he made it part of the ear marks exploded an that's where the push back came from, but the situation that has developed is much worse than before. no more trance transparent si. these members of congress who are against ear marks are stuck sending letters to a white house of a different party, saying how about a little bit of money in my district. >> what you're saying is this is a law of unintended consequences with respect to ear mark reform. you're not getting rid of the money, you're just changing how it is spent. >> no, you are not going to get the federal government to stop dispersing money. people did say this at the time, they said this at the time,
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look, you're not going to change the fact that money is spent. what we need is transparency. then it will be more democratic, on and on and on. no, it went all the way. no, we're going to ban ear marks. it's typical washington stupidity, and this is where it gets them. >> ryan grim of the huffington post, my guest, appreciate it. coming up, the extraordinary scandal that's riveting england, tying journalists to the highest echelons of british government. prime minister got hammered with questions today. you don't to want miss this story. zplmptle perhaps the most monumental labor struggle of the year. a network of possibilities. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice.
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still ahead, the rupert murdoch-owned british tabloid is under fire for hacking into and deleting the voice mails of a 13-year-old murder victim. just one phillips' colon health probiotic cap a day
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in the spotlight tonight, the scandal that's rocking the political media world in england
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and across the atlantic. at the epicenter of it all, the news of the world, rupert murdoch. the story revolves around milly dauer, the 13-year-old who was kidnapped and murdered in 2002. the case was trashed by the british tabloids until a doorman was convicted of her murder last month. murdoch's news of the world newspaper is accused of hacking into dauer's cell phone after she went missing nine years ago. the family's lawyer said the paper intercepted voice mails and deleted those voicemails to make room for new ones. because the phone's mailbox was no longer completely full and the family was able to leave those messages, they thought milly was alive. this is no isolated incident. investigative reporters have been tracking cell phone hackings for five years, but
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until now those have centered on celebrities. report that murdoch's news of the world hacked into phones of victims of the 2005 bombings in london. and just breaking tonight, even into voice mails left for widows of fallen british soldiers. because of the cozy relationship between murdoch and prime minister david cameron, cameron has been sucked into the scandal too. cameron actually hired the disgraced former news of the world editor andy coalson in 2007. he was forced to resign six months ago over earlier hacking violations. now cameron has a lot of explaining to do. >> let me be very clear, yes, we do need to have an inquiry into what has happened. let us be clear, we are no longer talking about politicians and celebrities, we're talking
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about murder victims having their phones hacked into. it is absolutely disgusting. >> murdoch has responded, backing his paper and its former boss, rebecca brooks. brooks, by the way now heads the entire newspaper empire, a company within a company. murdoch called the phone hackings deplorable and unacceptable adding i have made clear our company cooperate with the police in all investigations, and that is exactly -- the most you just cannot make this up part of the scandal, murdoch announced a lawyer would be helping to supervise his company's compliance with the investigation. that name rings a bell? it should. he served as assistant attorney general under george w. bush and is considered the primary author of the patriot act. that's right, murdoch has tapped
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the author of the patriot act. joining me you, archie bland, the former editor for the former independent newspaper in london. thanks so much. let's start on phones of war widows being hacked. seems that's making a lot of headlines in england. how big is the fallout of this story going to get? >> well, i mean it's reached a level to everyone in the uk has found astonishing. a story for a long time has been bubbling under and has been the preserve of a group of people who are interested in the media. now it's coming of something that's of obsessive interest in the country that are normal people, have not done something wrong, widows of people who have been killed fighting for the country in a war, absolutely astonishing. >> maybe a dumb yes question, why were they hacking these voice mails, using these for scoops in the paper?
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was that the intent? >> right, right, exactly. what's astonishing is shows they were doing it on fishing expeditions, not when they had a big story they wanted to confirm. whenever they had somebody's phone number, they'd go through their voicemails to see if they could find. they were looking at the voice mails years after the death of the soldiers basically hoping to get good, private information that would give them the jump on their rivals in the market. >> news corp. is facing some serious business problems from this, right? the shares are trading down quite a bit today. murdoch currently is trying to buy sky tv, and there's this exchange today on the floor of the parliament between prime minister cameron and opposition leader ed milliband. >> mr. speaker, i'm afraid that answer was out of touch with millions of -- the public will not accept the idea that with
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this scandal engulfing the news of the world and news international that the government should, in the coming days, in the coming days, be making a decision outside of the normal processes for them to take control of one of the biggest media organizations in the country. i know this is difficult, but i strongly urge him to think again and send this decision to the proper authorities. >> i would say to him, the decision making has been through the proper processes and it's right the government acts legally in every way, and that is what it has done. one is an issue about morality and ethics, the other about competition, which has to act under the law. those are the words he used yesterday, and in just 24 hours, he's down a u-turn in order to look good in the commons. >> mr. speaker, this is not the time for technicalities or -- and the prime minister, instead
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of engaging in technicalities should speak to the country on this issue, buzz this is what people want him to do. >> pretty remarkable exchange. i wonder how much of a threat does this pose, ultimately, to rupert murdoch, who is probably the most powerful man in the entire country? >> well, you certainly could argue that. i mean, it doesn't pose a threat to his power as a media baron around the world. the news of the world makes a lot of money. all this week advertisers have been pulling out of this week's edition. it will be interesting to see if people stop buying the paper. as the scandal has rolled along, it's never affected the paper in the uk. if this now starts to affect the number of who buy the paper, then it will have very serious consequences and mean rebecca brooks, who is her prime child
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in the uk may eventually be forced out. >> it seems to me there's a fair amount of -- i don't know if complicitly is the right word, but the attention, there's allegations now news of the world was bribing police officials. there was a kind of conspiracy of silence around this practice. how far is this going to sort of -- how many people are going to end up being tainted by this, do you think? >> so, we have reports coming out overnight here that there are five journalists facing arrests in the coming days over this whole affair, so it could go high up. rebecca brooks is an incredibly senior person. not inconceivable she could end up being arrested herself. there was an m.p. today who said that james murdoch himself, rupert murdoch's son, should face some kind of legal ramification over this, so
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there's a sense this has gone far too far and someone needs to take responsibility for it. >> thank you so much for joining me. >> no problem. coming up, president obama overturns a policy that prevents him from reaching out to families of soldiers that committed suicide in war zone. that's coming up. next, how the nba owners are using creative accounting methods. naturals from purina cat chow. delicious, real ingredients with no artificial flavors or preservatives. naturals from purina cat chow. share a better life. with new extra-strength bayer advanced aspirin. it has microparticles, enters the bloodstream faster and rushes relief to the site of pain. it's clinically proven to relieve pain twice as fast. new bayer advanced aspirin.
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yet another labor dispute this week, this one involves an industry with $4.3 billion in annual revenues. employers are claiming financial hardships. unlike the others, this one involves the greatest sport on ert, basketball. the reason i bring this up is the story illustrates the accounting gimmicks management is quick to deploy in such negotiations, collect i haviive
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bargaining ended yesterday. players say not so fast. in negotiations, the owners are primarily represented by nba commissioner, david stern, who claims that last season, 23 of the 30 teams experienced a net income loss and the league collectively lost $340 million. that figure was previously recorded at $370 million, which prompted this tweet from nick silver, if david stern really thinks the nba lost $370 million last year, shouldn't he fire himself? he questioned whether the nba misrepresented losses using accounting tricks. independent estimates of the nba financial commission reflect a sport that's an undeliberated revenues between teams, but which is a profitable business. those came from forbes, which concluded last season 17 of the
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30 teams lost money and the league made a profit of $183 million. soon after, the nba released a statement that the league lost money every year of the just-expiring collective bargaining agreement. during these years the league has never had a positive net income. joining me now is dave ziron, sports editor for my sports nation magazine. thank you for joining me, dave. >> great to be here, and i should say the player's rep for the milwaukee bucks and the nba players association gave full-throated support for wisconsin. you're not the only one that sees a connection. >> let me start out by playing devil's advocate. you look at these contracts,
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insane contracts. there are people who are on the bench making tens of millions of dollars. the forbes numbers show the league has a higher number of revenue going to player salaries to other leagues. maybe the owners are right. are the players overpaid? >> no, because nobody has a gun to the owners heads when they put out those contracts. a typical owner 1 an aderol addict in a fireworks store. they are asking labor, they are asking the players, please, be our mommy and daddy, please, provide us with financial restraint instead of a typical business. no one is forcing them to sign these players. the owner of the wizards and casual capitals, the current cba makes the owners take their stupid pills. >> bail us out, don't let us do
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this to ourselves. what do you think of where the league is at this moment? it seems like they are coming off one of the best years they have ever had and this is a crazy time for them to be doing this. >> it's a remarkably healthy league. fifth highest attendance ever, some of the highest playoff ratings we've ever seen. this is why the current split right now, chris, is not between players and management, it's between some owners and other owners, because there's a group of owners saying wow, we're playing with hot dice, let's keep this going, but other owners, particularly owners of the boston celtics, golden state warriors, cleveland cavaliers, relatively new owners that paid relatively a lot of money for their franchise to get a collective bargaining agreement. i don't know if that's ethical, but it's not illegal. but those are the pressures right now going on, and you're
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right, this past year was amazing. the miami heat, this friday, one year since the decision of lebron james, it provided just an amazing amount of interest and heat in the league itself, pardon the expression. >> i wonder also, this is a hard question to ask, because i'm not sure how much polling there is on this, but your sense of we have gone through these intense labor battles in wisconsin, we've seen them in ohio. i feel there's been a daunting consciousness. i wonder if that changed the dynamic of how the public receives information about this. >> it's a great question. >> when it's multi-million a year basketball player. >> great question, there is polling to back this up, the public sides with the players, and in the nba we don't have the polling yet, but one of the differences is it's a lockout, not a strike, so it's the owners who are locking the doors. that's a key difference. in the nfl there's been a
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blossoming consciousness of what nfl players go through, they die twenty years sooner than the american male, concussions, average playing three and a half years. troy pol mall lieu said it's not millions versus billionaires, it's the rich versus the rest of us. sounds like big bill haywood, but it's the guy from the head and shoulders commercials. >> starting center for friends seminary high school back in the day. >> we were great. thanks a lot. coming up, the administration decides to change a long-standing policy concerning subsidies -- concerning suicides by military personnel serving overseas. [ man ] they said i couldn't win a fight.
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but i did. they said i couldn't fight above my weight class. but i did. they said i couldn't get elected to congress. but i did. ♪ sometimes when we touch ha ha! millions of hits! [ male announcer ] flick, stack, and move between active apps seamlessly. only on the new hp touchpad with webos. [ female announcer ] something unexpected to the world of multigrain... taste. ♪ delicious pringles multigrain. with a variety of flavors, multigrain pops with pringles.
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2003, just shy of his 20th
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birthday, specialist of indianapolis enlisted in the u.s. army and soon thereafter deployed to iraq. like many serving abroad, the distance, stress, and trauma took a toll on his relationship with his wife and the two separated while he was away. the stress of life also took a toll on him. a firearm was removed for ten days for fear he'd harm himself. he was transferred to ohio and redeployed to iraq for his second tour of duty in 2009. in the weeks running up to deployment, he started losing weight and his e-mails sounded depressed. trying to get settled in, it's hot, it's miserable, it has been tough, miss you guys a lot. on june 19, 2009, he took his own life.
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upon their son's death, greg and janet were shocked to know the president of the united states did not write condolence letters to those who died of south side in war zone. the president does sign a condolence note to those who die in combat or accident in war zones. for those who lost members to suicide and to push the president to begin to send a note to families like their own. the recognition of the president could have a profound impact on the family of the citizen victim, greg wrote in an august 2009 letter to obama. we beseech you to reach out. please, change the policy and give the families the dignity they deserve. today, a small but bittersweet victory. the white house begins sending condolence notes to families who
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succumb to suicide in iraq and afghanistan. the official note from the president reads this decision was made after a difficult and exhaustive review of the former policy, and i did not make it lightly. this issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these americans served bravely. they didn't die because they were weak, and the fact they didn't get the help they needed must change. since the beginning of the wars in iraq and afghanistan, more than 1800 members of the military have committed suicide during active duty. even more staggering, more active duty troops have died in the last two years from suicide than in combat. now the president will be writing letters to the families of the service members. here's hoping he has to write very, very few. greg keesling tol us his wife cried for the first time in two years. we're going to heal, he said. we're going to heal. that's